✨ An Interview ✨
…with Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver,
the leading characters in Joe Cosentino’s Drama Merry,
the 16th Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance novel
Nicky and Noah, you are an adorable couple.
Nicky & Noah: Aren’t we though? Sometimes we say the same things. It’s a fun couple thing we do.
Congratulations on the release of the sixteenth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy comedy mystery romance series.
Nicky: Try saying that three times fast while taking a breathalizer test.
Since the readers can’t see you, tell them what you look like.
Noah: Nicky is a gorgeous hunk.
Nicky: And Noah can’t tell a lie.
Noah: Nicky is tall with dark hair and sexy long sideburns, a cleft chin I love to kiss, Roman nose, emerald eyes, and a muscular body thanks to the gym on campus.
Nicky: I call it Masochists’ Manor.
Noah: Best of all, Nicky has a huge heart. And something else that is huge.
Nicky: And Noah likes that.
Noah: It sure doesn’t hurt. Well, not too much anymore. (He blushes.)
Nicky: Noah is tall, with silky golden blond hair, true-blue eyes, milk and honey skin, and a body I love to hug all night long. And Noah always cares about others. Especially me. And I adore him for it. I’m a one-man man, and that man is Noah Oliver.
Noah: I’d have it no other way.
Nicky & Noah: And we both love solving mysteries!
Tell us about Drama Merry, the sixteenth novel in your popular, award-winning series.
Nicky: It stars me!
Noah: And co-stars me!
Nicky: The sweet (pun intended) sixteenth Nicky and Noah mystery novel has our theatrical troupe back at Treemeadow College staging an original musical production of Robin Hood entitled, Why the Merry Men Are So Merry. Mystery ensues as the five Very Merry Men chorus members are murdered.
Noah: Once again, Nicky and I, as Sherlock and Watson (I always thought they were lovers) use our drama skills to catch the killer before our tights get squeezed around our necks.
As usual, calamity ensues in book sixteen.
Nicky: More calamity than when a past Republican president ordered the Proud Boys to take over the Capitol. But let’s talk about me. In my very merry version, I direct and play the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Noah: And I’m the acting coach and star as Robin Hood (a homo without a home and a hood in the hood). The Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood begin as adversaries, but end up as lovers. Wouldn’t it be nice if feuding world leaders would do that?
Nicky: Also in my play within the novel, Maid Marian is played by my best pal and department chair Martin Anderson. Martin’s long-suffering husband, Ruben, is Friar Tuck (a drag queen).
Noah: Our son, Taavi, is Will Scarlet, and his wife Sloane, a transexual, plays Maude Lindsey. Martin and Ruben’s son, Ty, is minstrel Alan-a-Dale.
Nicky: And my nemesis Detective Manuello comes along for the ride as (not so little) Little John.
Noah: Even our dog, Asterisk, and his husband, Tag, are cast as Merry Stud and Tail-wagger. The rest of the cast members are hunky newcomers to the series, so there are plenty of victims and suspects—not to mention sweet romance.
Nicky: If you read this novel, you’ll have more fun than a conservative politician taking away people’s medical insurance.
Who are the new characters in book sixteen?
Noah: Things heat up pretty quickly between the assistant professors playing Merry Men David of Doncaster and Arthur a Bland: exotic and muscular Count Choreo and adorably stocky Pierce Falsetto.
Nicky: The same holds true for the theatre majors I cast as Merry Men Gilbert Whitehead and Reynold Greenleaf: lean city boy Bass Jazzy and incredibly hunky country boy Spin Vibrato.
Who was your favorite new character?
Noah: New character, Nicky.
Nicky: Associate Professor of Dance Count Choreo is hiding quite a secret, but he does so with charisma and style, eventually owning up to it.
Noah: My favorite character is Nicky.
Nicky: New character, Noah.
Noah: Long and lean theatre major Bass Jazzy from New York City acts tough, but he has a heart of gold.
Which new character do you like the least?
Nicky and Noah: The Very Merry Men in the chorus/murder victims.
Nicky: But I solve the mystery anyway.
Noah: With my help.
Which new character is the sexiest?
Nicky: Latin farm boy Spin Vibrato is incredibly hunky, but more importantly he escaped an Alt Right southern family and came to Treemeadow. But Noah is sexier.
Noah: Spin builds beautiful furniture. And he believes in werewolves, which is quite interesting. But Nicky is sexier.
What makes the Nicky and Noah mystery series so special?
Nicky & Noah: Us!
Nicky: Actually, it’s a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, and there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning faster than a priest chasing an altar boy up the bell tower. At the center is the touching relationship between Noah and me. You watch us go from courting to marrying to adopting a child, all the while head over heels in love with each other.
Noah: Reviewers called the series “hysterically funny farce,” “Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys,” and “captivating whodunits.” One reviewer wrote they are the funniest books she’s ever read! Another said Joe is “a master storyteller.” Who are we to argue?
Nicky: Even though Noah and I tell Joe everything to write.
How are the novels cozy?
Noah: Many of them, like this one, take place in Vermont, a cozy state with green pastures, white church steeples, glowing lakes, and friendly and accepting people. Fictitious Treemeadow College (named after its gay founders, couple Tree and Meadow) is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery with its white Edwardian buildings, low white stone fences, lake and mountain views, and cherry wood offices with tall leather chairs and fireplaces.
Why do you think there aren’t many other gay cozy mystery series out there?
Noah: Most MM novels are erotica, young adult, dark thrillers, or supernatural. While that’s fine, I think we’re missing a whole spectrum of fiction. In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries, they include romance, humor, mystery, adventure, and quaint and loveable characters in uncanny situations. The settings are warm and cozy with lots of hot cocoa by the fireplace. The clues and red herrings are there for the perfect whodunit.
Nicky: So are the plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning over like a family values politician at an orgy. And no matter what is thrown in my path as a sleuth, I always end up on top.
Noah: Which is just fine with me.
For anyone unfortunate enough not to have read them, tell us the titles of the novels in the series.
Nicky: The Nicky and Noah mysteries are Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance. Take it, Noah, while I catch my breath.
Noah: Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, Drama TV, Drama Oz, Drama Prince, and now Drama Merry. Phew!
Joe is a college theatre professor/department chair like Martin Anderson in your series. Has that influenced the series?
Noah: As a past professional actor and current college theatre professor/department chair, Joe knows first-hand the wild and wacky antics, sweet romance, and captivating mystery in the worlds of theatre and academia. The Nicky and Noah mysteries are full of them! He never seems to run out of wild characters to write about.
Nicky: His faculty colleagues and students kid him that if any of them tick me off, he’ll kill them in his next book. And he probably will. The little guy is fearless!
What do you like about the regular characters in the series?
Noah: I love Nicky’s never give up attitude and sense of humor in the face of adversity. He’s genuinely concerned for others, and he’ll do anything to solve a murder mystery. He’s also a one-man man, and I’m proud to admit that man is me.
Nicky: Noah makes the perfect Watson to my Holmes. He also has a large heart and soft spot (no pun intended) for others. Finally, like me, Noah is gifted at improvisation, and creates wild and wonderful characters for our role-plays to catch the murderer.
Noah: I think it’s terrific how Martin and Ruben throw riotous zingers at each other, but they’re so much in love. You don’t see a lot of older gay characters in books nowadays.
Nicky: And our son, Taavi, fits into our thespian crime-solving group perfectly.
Noah: So does Martin and Ruben’s son Ty.
How about your parents?
Nicky: They’re hilarious. I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies and television. I also love how Noah’s father is a ham and an amateur sleuth like me. As they say, men marry their fathers.
Noah: Nicky’s mom’s Mafia ties and addiction to church Bingo are also a riot. Both sets of parents fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing.
I’m sure Joe has been told that the books would make a terrific TV series.
Nicky: Many many times! Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, I would love to see them do The Nicky and Noah Mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make your offers! Joe has written a teleplay of the first novel and treatments for the remaining novels!
How would you cast the TV series?
Noah: Here’s my wish list: Matt Bomer as Nicky, Neil Patrick Harris as me, Rosie O’Donnell and Bruce Willis as my parents, Valerie Bertinelli and Jay Leno as Nicky’s parents, Joe as Martin Anderson (nepotism!), Nathan Lane as Martin’s husband Ruben, Wanda Sykes as Martin’s office assistant Shayla.
Nicky: And Luke McFarlane as my brother Tony.
Joe has written other mystery series: the Player Piano mysteries and the Jana Lane mysteries. There are mystery elements in his Cozzi Cove series and Found At Last series. A story in Joe’s Tales from Fairyland Anthology is a mystery.
Nicky: They’re great stories, but Noah and I aren’t in them. Next question.
This novel has quite an amazing ending. Is it the last novel in the series?
Nicky: Only the mystery muses know.
How can your readers get their hands on Drama Merry, and how can they contact you?
Nicky: The purchase links are below, as are Joe’s contact links, including his web site.
Noah: Nicky and I love to hear from readers via Joe! He tells us everything you say about us!
Thank you, Nicky and Noah, for interviewing today.
Nicky and Noah: Our pleasure.
Noah: We know you’ll laugh, cry, feel romantic, and love delving into this crackling new mystery with more plot twists and turns (as Nicky would say) than a past Republican president’s bankruptcies, illegal charities, and affair with a porn star.
Nicky: We’re more excited than the conservative majority of the Supreme Court taking away LGBT, women’s, environmental, workers’, and voting rights under the guise of “religious freedom” to share this sixteenth novel in the series with you.
Noah: So don your tunic and tights, wave your arrow, and meet us in Sherwood Forest!
Nicky: I promise you a happy ending!
Nicky & Noah: And murder!
Drama Merry by Joe Cosentino
the 16th Nicky and Noah mystery
a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO
Formats/Length: E-book and Paperback / 207 pages
Genre: MM, contemporary, mystery, comedy, romance, theatre, musical theater, college, Robin Hood
Heat Level: 2
Cover Art: Jesús Da Silva
Release Date: April 1, 2023
Spring and romance blossom at Treemeadow College when theatre professors Nicky, Noah, and their thespian cohorts stage an original musical adaptation of Robin Hood entitled, Why the Merry Men Are So Merry. Things are very merry indeed until some Merry Men drop like tights after a drag show. Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer before their tights are in a knot—around their throats.
You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining sixteenth novel in this delightful series. It’s a gas! So hurry to your seat. The stage lights are coming up in Sherwood Forest on a Robin in the hood, a sheriff with a bulge in his tights, a not so little Little John, a Friar Tuck drag queen, more Merry Men than in the back room of a family values’ convention, and murder!
🛒 Purchase Links!
Praise for the Nicky and Noah Mysteries
“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his plot-lines will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven’t discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine
“a combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote… Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you…the best modern Sherlock and Watson in books today…I highly recommend this book and the entire series, it’s a pure pleasure, full of fun and love, written with talent and brio…fabulous…brilliant” Optimumm Book Reviews
“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews
“For fans of Joe Cosentino’s hilarious mysteries, this is another vintage story with more cheeky asides and sub plots right left and centre….The story is fast paced, funny and sassy. The writing is very witty with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour….Highly recommended.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews
“Every entry of the Nicky and Noah mystery series is rife with intrigue, calamity, and hilarity…Cosentino keeps us guessing – and laughing – until the end, as well as leaving us breathlessly anticipating the next Nicky and Noah thriller.” Edge Media Network
“A laugh and a murder, done in the style we have all come to love….This had me from the first paragraph….Another wonderful story with characters you know and love!” Crystals Many Reviewers
“These two are so entertaining….Their tactics in finding clues and the crazy funny interactions between characters keeps the pages turning. For most of the book if I wasn’t laughing I was grinning.” Jo and Isa Love Books
“Superb fun from start to finish, for me this series gets stronger with every book and that’s saying something because the benchmark was set so very high with book 1.” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“The Nicky and Noah Mysteries series are perfect for fans of the Cozy Mystery sub-genre. They mix tongue-in-cheek humor, over-the-top characters, a wee bit of political commentary, and suspense into a sweet little mystery solved by Nicky and Noah, theatre professors for whom all the world’s a stage.” Prism Book Alliance
“This is one hilarious series with a heart and it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend them all, and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
“How is it going well?”
Walking me backstage, Noah replied, “Nobody has been murdered. That’s a first for us.”
When we arrived at Noah’s dressing room, he sat me on the turquoise chaise and spread out our lunch on the nearby makeup table. “I made a little something for everyone in the company: crab stuffed salmon in Romanesco sauce, brown rice risotto, and asparagus shallot whole wheat tarts.”
“You’re an angel, Noah Oliver.”
Asterisk and Tag barked their agreement then devoured their lunch in a corner of the dressing room. I gobbled down lunch and a banana cumquat blueberry smoothie chaser to wash down my latest herbal concoction: plantain, chaparral, sage, licorice, coltfoot, marshmallow root, thyme, mullein peppermint, eucalyptus, lungwort, oregano, and lobelia.
Noah stood over me with his hand on his hip. “Why are you taking all those extra supplements?”
I shivered. “It’s my desperate attempt at trying to survive climate change, global warming, and environmental pollution.”
Changing the subject quickly, Noah said, “I hope Taavi and Sloane get a baby.”
“They have plenty of time. Where are they anyway?”
“Having lunch in Taavi’s dressing room.” Noah sat next to me. “They’re two lovebirds. Just like us.”
We shared a warm and wet kiss. Noah rested his head on my shoulder, his long golden locks cascading down my chest. The room was full of the luscious scent of his strawberry shampoo.
“You’re a sweet Robin Hood, Noah.”
“And your Sheriff of Nottingham is perfectly evil, Nicky.”
I slapped his bottom.
“I meant that in a good way.”
“You mean everything in a good way.”
He threw his arms around me, and we shared a long embrace.
I sighed. “I hope the show comes together before opening night.”
“It always does, Nicky.”
“There seems to be more drama backstage than on stage.”
Noah’s ears perked up. “Meaning?”
“Our theatre student Bass Jazzy has quite the unrequited crush on our Assistant Professor of Dance Count Choreo.”
“A lot of students have crushes on their professors.”
“My students don’t have crushes on me.”
I cocked my head at him. “Do your students have crushes on you?”
“Occasionally. It’s part of their growing up process.”
“I wish Bass Jazzy and Spin Vibratto would grow up. Our two theatre students have about as much onstage chemistry as our two professors Count Choreo and Pierce Falsetto.”
“I’ll work with all of them.”
“Good luck.” Sitting back on the chaise, I said, “It will be like working with a Republican legislator to support science and medicine.”
Always looking on the bright side, Noah took my hand. “Ty and Melody Tempo seem to have an onstage chemistry.”
“To our stage manager’s disdain.”
“You think Shinelle is interested in Ty?”
I chuckled. “Shinelle is more interested in Ty than a Mormon is interested in his magic underwear—and all ten of his wives.”
“How do you think Ty feels about that?”
“I think Ty is enjoying all the attention.”
“Of course Taavi and Sloane, and you and I have stage chemistry.” He kissed the cleft in my chin. “As do Martin and Ruben.”
“If their body parts stay on.”
Noah shushed me away. “Martin will get accustomed to his costume padding and wig.”
“I was referring to their surgically replaced body parts.”
We shared a snigger.
Asterisk growled and Tag groaned.
Rising, I petted our dogs. “Yes, you two studs are electric on stage.”
The dogs shared a smooch.
I said, “Our Very Merry Men chorus seem to have more agendas than a right-wing ‘news’ station.”
I sighed. “I think Cadence Arpeggio covets Count Choreo’s role of David of Doncaster, and Pas de Deux wants to redo Count’s choreography. Graduate Assistant Lyric Baritone appears to desire Pierce Falsetto’s role of Arthur-a-Bland and position as musical director. There seems to be a strain between Adagio Arabesque and our Gilbert Whitehead, Bass Jazzy, as well as between Tenor Harmony and our Reynold Greenleaf, Spin Vibrato. As a matter of fact, there seems to be a strain between the chorus boys and everyone in the cast except for Melody Tempo.”
“Maybe it’s because the chorus boys keep to themselves.”
“Tell me about it. Shinelle practically has to pry them out of their dressing room for their cues. And when they’re in their dressing room, they always keep the door closed.”
“What do you think they do in there?”
“I’m going to find out.”
“All right.” As I headed to the door, Noah rose. “I’ll see who in the cast needs my help.”
After a quick kiss, Noah and I left the dressing room and headed in separate directions. Though I tried to put it out of my mind, I couldn’t help wondering which cast member would be murdered first.
About the Author
Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite MM Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel.
He is also the author of…
- the remaining Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, Drama Runway, Drama Christmas, Drama Pan, Drama TV, Drama Oz, Drama Prince, Drama Merry;
- the Player Piano Mysteries: The Player and The Player’s Encore;
- the Jana Lane Mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll;
- the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Moving Forward, Stepping Out, New Beginnings, Happy Endings;
- the In My Heart Anthology: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star;
- the Tales from Fairyland Anthology: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland;
- the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Anthology: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The First Noel;
- and the Found At Last Anthology: Finding Giorgio and Finding Armando.
His books have won numerous Book of the Month awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college theatre professor/department chair residing in New York State.